OZ Cabbie May 2013
This month things started off on a sour note in Melbourne. The Airport scrapped its short fare system on Wednesday 1 May, forcing drivers doing $10 fares to go back to the end of the holding rank queue on their return. There had been no consultation and no explanation given. On the Friday morning fromt 8am to 10.30am 300 drivers blockade two ranks at departures for. The media had a field-day especially after a scuffle broke out between a few drivers and a battalion of police and security guards. It made the evening news on every channel. When that didn’t work the drivers repeated the protest on Monday morning. This time they got the attention of airport management and the Victorian Taxi Association. VTA misled Airport on Short Fare System.
A week earlier the NSW fare regulator IPART release its draft report on this years fare adjustments. Its proposal; to drop Sydney fares by what it estimated was an average 1%. It’s maths aren’t to good. Drivers called it “plain crazy”, “a harebrained idea” and other colourful terms. Fortunately, it’s only a draft proposal. Those passionate enough about the issue can front at IPART’s public forum on 21 May. Submissions are due 31 May. See IPART’s website for details. IPART Proposal to reduce Sydney Fares called “plain crazy”.
One of the most effective and respected taxi driver advocates, Lee Sims, former secretary of the now defunct Cab Drivers Association Queensland, was charged with racial vilification 2.5 years ago after trumped up charges were file with QCAT by Taxi Council Queensland on behalf of nine “weak and naive” (TCQ’s words) Indian taxi drivers in Mackay. This month the case was dismissed to the great relief of Lee and his friends. Taxi Council’s abuse of legal Process.
A Launceston owner-driver, fond of using taxi app goCatch, resigned from the board of Combined Taxi, Launcheston. Angered by their rejection of the app, technology which he believes is the future of the industry, he removed the network's decals from his cab and replaced them with a big goCatch logo, making his cab the first in Australia branded with decals promoting an independent app. Say g’day to Australia’s first App branded Taxi on the Apple Isle.
As the taxi world is patiently and anxiously waiting for the Victorian Government’s long overdue response to the Fels Report, a small cabal of three Greek taxi tycoons have jumped the gun and announced its launch of a new app initially to be used exclusively in their own fleets, as well as plans to launch their own fully accredited network. A gutsy move, not likely to endear them with their old mates in the Victorian Taxi Association. Greek Cabal plans to take on the Melbourne Taxi Establishment.
You will notice there is no Letters to the Editor page in this issue. The inconvenient truth is that we didn’t receive any suitable for printing. Sure hope this improves before the June issue.
Cabcharge is at it again. At the Australian Taxi Industry Association’s annual conference, this year held in Adelaide, they revealed their latest attack on other meter manufacturers, an new integrated meter and EFTPOS terminal. Whether they raise the ire of the ACCC this time is too early to tell, but they sure are sailing close to the wind.
On another front Cabcharge is again challenging the regulators. They have decided to totally disregard the Reserve Bank of Australia’s ruling to reduce card transaction surcharges. It argues that the ruling doesn’t apply to them as they don’t charge a surcharge but a service fee. It seems it is not about what it is, but what you decide to call it. Love them or loath them, few Australian companies are as crafty as Cabcharge. The question the stock market is asking: “What is going to happen with Cabcharge once its 85 year old chairman Reg Kermode retires, expected to be later this year”. The craftiest of them all, he is the strategist behind its success.
Until next month, may you all get that fare of a lifetime.